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Drones for Fireworks? SeaWorld Considers Futuristic Switch

SeaWorld received the go ahead from the California Coastal Commission for a two-week drone show trial run

First, it was the Shamu show, now SeaWorld San Diego’s fireworks show could experience a similar transformation.

Theme park visitors may soon look up to hundreds of drones lighting up the night sky instead of the traditional nighttime fireworks display.

The California Coastal Commission approved a temporary permit Thursday for SeaWorld to move forward with a test run of a nightly drone show next February.

SeaWorld can replace its fireworks show with a nightly five-minute drone show between Feb. 4 and Feb. 18 in 2020, according to the commission’s guidelines.

Park officials called the commission’s approval a first step in their early development phase of the project.

“At this time, we don’t have information regarding the specifics of what a potential show here might look like,” said SeaWorld’s director of communications David Koontz

You don’t have to look far to find examples of drone shows – which have grown in popularity, almost as fast the technology itself.

The opening ceremony of the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea, and the 2019 Super Bowl halftime show both featured the Intel Shooting Star drones, the same kinds proposed for SeaWorld.

The drones come equipped with LED lights capable of producing four billion lighting combinations, according to Intel.

Operators launch them through a preset computer program with GPS technology preventing mid-air collisions.

The drones are encased in plastic and foam and weigh less than a pound.

While the opening ceremony of the 2018 Winter Olympics featured more than 1,200 drones, SeaWorld can only use 500 drones, according to the temporary permit granted by the California Coastal Commission.

The permit also allows a maximum flight height of 400 feet and says the show can last no longer than 5 minutes.

If SeaWorld wants to move forward with a more permanent show after next February’s 15-day trial run, they’ll need to seek additional approval.

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